Legendary Alabama and New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath faces ugly allegations in a lawsuit reported on by the New York Post late Sunday.
The 80-year-old Namath is accused of covering up sexual abuse that took place at his youth football camp beginning in 1972, when he was in the midst of a Hall-of-Fame career with the Jets. According to The Post, 64-year-old Philip Lyle Smith recently came forward to say he was sexually abused by Brooklyn prep school football coach Philip Foglietta — who was later accused of molesting several young boys and who died in 1998 — at the Joe Namath Instructional Football Camp, beginning when he was just 12.
Smith told The Post he attended several of Namath’s camps in Vermont and Massachusetts as an “invited guest” of Foglietta. He said he was allowed by camp supervisors to sleep in Foglietta’s room, where the alleged abuse took place.
Smith’s lawsuit was originally filed in 2019 under the Child Victims Act, which extended the statute of limitations for alleged victims to file civil lawsuits against individuals and companies, but has since expired. Smith was originally listed as “John Doe” in the suit, but has since come forward to tell his story publicly for the first time.
The lawsuit alleges that Namath and other defendants, including former Jets teammate and future NFL broadcaster John Dockery, of being “enablers and pedophile protectors.” It also states that Namath and others “were aware of, tolerated and covered up known sexual abuse at the camp, abuse that had a lasting effect on [Smith].”
“Back in those days, Joe Namath was my idol,” Smith told The Post. “And he went from my hero to a zero in my life.”
According to NBC News, “the defense is challenging Smith’s right to sue in New York state because the camps in question were in Vermont and Massachusetts. It is also questioning whether Namath and Dockery are the proper defendants as individuals.” The case has been bogged down in the legal system for years, but is expected to soon by heard by state appeals court.
Namath played quarterback at Alabama from 1962-64, leading Paul “Bear” Bryant’s Crimson Tide to a national championship as a senior. He signed with the Jets for then-record $400,000, and led the team to the Super Bowl III championship at the end of the 1968 season in one of the more-famous games in NFL history.
Now retired in Florida, Namath has made several appearances around the Alabama football program in recent years. Earlier this season, he was on campus to be the guest picker on ESPN’s College GameDay for the Sept. 9 home game vs. Texas.